The FutureMakers FAFSAfirst! team, is preparing High School Seniors for the upcoming release of the 2022-2023 Free Application for Federal Student Aid application (FAFSA) on October 1st. . By filing the FAFSA at fafsa.gov and using accurate income tax information that is already available, students and parents will benefit by receiving financial aid award offers from schools sooner and can make informed decisions about college or career school affordability.
During the 2020-2021 school year, our five county region had 6,881 students complete a FAFSA application, for a completion rate of 50.3 percent with the help of the extended Cash for College seasonal campaign. Our FAFSA first! team found that implementing the following strategies help to increase completion.
- Created a Financial Aid menu of services to assist school counselors.
- Created a shareable FAFSA easy step by step guide.
- Brought on local education and financial aid experts to help with enrolment questions, financial aid, and FAFSA verifications. This was incredible to experience and will be key to our future success.
- Held nine in person and virtual events in June where we engaged students in line for graduation close out and had tables and financial aid reps helping students.
- Created email blasts and templates for all high school counselors to send to students who needed help starting, completing, or troubleshooting the application.
- Expanded our scope to offer assistance with Florida financial aid applications, award letters, and scholarship resources.
- Created an email address for year-round access that forwards to our team for timely responses.
- Tailored resources to first-generation students as well as those with special circumstances.
- Made assistance available through phone, email, virtual and in-person where needed.
- Weekly virtual and/or college-going help sessions have been available to students all along and a new email address for general questions was created.
Millions of dollars in financial aid are still unclaimed by eligible Southwest Florida high school seniors each year, however we are determined to close the gap as much as we can each year. Research has shown that students who were accepted into four-year colleges were much more likely to enroll if they had completed the FAFSA.
This year, the team, which is truly a collaboration of school district, non-profit, career and college admissions and financial aid folks are hosting a series of events to assist counselors, students, and their family members navigate the FAFSA and financial aid process. Florida Students need to know that by not completing the FAFSA, they leave $100 million on the table every year, FREE money they would have qualified for.
Events, will cover general Financial Aid Information along with an overview of the FAFSA application and are open to all students. We have team members working with school counselors and students creating FSA IDs and sharing a variety of resources to make the process as easy and painless as possible. By filing the FAFSA by visiting www.fafsa.gov and using accurate income tax information that is already available, students and parents will benefit by receiving financial aid award offers from schools sooner and can make informed decisions about college or career school affordability.
Watch our social media @FAFSAfirst for more information about FAFSA labs, scholarship workshops and more! Visit https://www.futuremakerscoalition.com/fafsafirst/ for tip sheets and additional resources.
If students or parents have questions you may have them email [email protected]